Warren’s Sarah Jones continues family tradition with Duroc royalty

Sarah Jones (middle), of Warren, was named the 2017 Indiana Duroc queen. Jones’ grandfather, Guy Jackson (right), holding a Duroc piglet, passed a love of pigs on to his family, which inspired Jones’ mother, Kelly Jones (left), to become Duroc queen, as well as her aunt, Karen Johnson, and sister, Suzzette Corbin.
Sarah Jones (middle), of Warren, was named the 2017 Indiana Duroc queen. Jones’ grandfather, Guy Jackson (right), holding a Duroc piglet, passed a love of pigs on to his family, which inspired Jones’ mother, Kelly Jones (left), to become Duroc queen, as well as her aunt, Karen Johnson, and sister, Suzzette Corbin. Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published Aug. 14, 2017.

Sarah Jones, of Warren, was named this year’s Indiana Duroc queen.

It’s a title that comes with the responsibility of being an ambassador for the Duroc breed of swine. Chief among her duties will be appearing at the Indiana State Fair, where she will hand out ribbons to 4-H’ers during swine events.

While the big stage of the state fair and royal responsibilities might be intimidating to some, it’s nothing new for Jones’ family. Years before the Duroc queen crown rested on Jones’ head, it belonged to her sister, Suzzette Corbin. And before that, it belonged to her aunt, Karen Johnson. And before all three of them, it belonged to her mother, Kelly Jones.

In addition to sharing a title, Jones and her family members share a love of pigs. It’s an affinity that was passed on to them by Jones’ grandfather, Guy Jackson, who started showing pigs at 10 years old, when they first became a 4-H project.

“May not have been a Duroc,” says Kelly Jones, “at that very first hog show–”

“Yes, it was,” interjects Jackson, with a smile.

Duroc pigs hold a special place in Jackson’s heart.

“The temperament of the hog is super,” he states.

Considered to be one of the calmest swine breeds, Jackson says Durocs make exemplary show pigs. He also lauds their genetic makeup in comparison to other breeds.

“In general, they grow faster,” notes Jackson, who co-owns JJ Genetics, a Warren business that specializes in show pigs.

Kelly Jones, having picked up her father’s fondness for Durocs, decided to run for Duroc queen in 1980. Little did she know that winning the crown would start a family tradition. Johnson captured the crown in 1983. Corbin followed suit in 1997.

Kelly Jones was confident that her younger daughter would keep the tradition going.

“It was something Sarah always kind of thought she wanted to do if she met the requirements,” she says.

The primary requirement for being Duroc queen is that applicants must have shown pigs in 4-H for a minimum of four years. Sarah Jones, 17, had that requirement satisfied easily, as she had exhibited pigs for eight years, with a ninth coming up, when she applied for the office earlier this year.

In June, Jones received word that she had been awarded the crown. The Indiana Duroc Association made the announcement public in mid-July, coinciding with the Wells County 4-H Fair, which Jones participates in.

In addition to a crown, Jones received a scholarship. She also got the opportunity to compete for the title of Purebred queen at the state fair, doing so against her fellow swine breed queens.

The state fair commenced Aug. 4 and runs through Aug. 20. In addition to her duties as Duroc queen, Jones has had to show her Duroc and Hampshire pigs that advanced down to the fair.

“But I won’t do any extra showing,” she says.

She has a good excuse. In fact, it’s a familiar refrain for her family.

“Because I’m the queen,” she says.